With college sports in a precarious state in the face of COVID-19, players and coaches are getting more imaginative than ever when it comes to direct contact with fans. Even without the benefit of sports itself, some Razorbacks are showing they know how to entertain.
Eric Musselman, for instance, has starred in mock press conferences, seemingly embraced a “beef” with Tennessee’s Kim English, and alongside his wife Danyelle has hosted Instagram Q&A sessions with some of his players.
Meanwhile, wide receiver Mike Woods is doing things no high-profile Razorback football player has done before. Woods, the Hogs’ leading receiver in 2019, has started his own photography and YouTube channel in which he provides fans direct insight into how he and other Hogs train (Yes, medicine ball volleyball is a thing ), develop their skills and simply live their lives. Woods is doing all this self-marketing groundwork with a bigger picture in mind, but I like how relatively raw and real the videos are. I don’t get the sense any public relations folks vet his videos before they get published, and I kind of love that.
Here, the Razorback football players “play” a ‘game” that would give 98% of the general public an instant hernia:
It’s fun stuff, y’all.
In Mike Woods’ most recent video, he and his girlfriend sit in a bedroom and answer questions sent in by fans. Some, like “What position do you play?”, are pretty laughably basic.
But Woods also talks about his expectations for the season, whether he thinks the Hogs will actually play or not (see the 7:00 mark in the clip below),, favorite uniform color combination (red helmet and pants, white jersey) and doesn’t shy away from the scalding hot issue of which university has the most podunk visitors’ locker room.
The answer? Auburn.
“Boy, they put us in the girls’ soccer locker room. Like, what? Girls’ soccer? Y’all gotta realize the locker was this big [gestures with hands to indicate Lilliputian dimensions]. And we got 120 plus people in there, all big guys and we got a bunch of equipment. That one was definitely the worst one. They just got hooks on the wall… It’s like a JV Girls locker room, bro.”
Things get especially interesting when Woods starts talking about his home state of Texas. He’s from Magnolia, which is about 50 miles southeast of College Station.
So, when it comes to the SEC team he’d most like to beat, he doesn’t hesitate: Texas A&M. “We owe them and they’re literally like 40 minutes down the road from my house back home. And everybody from where I’m from goes to Texas A&M. For sure, it’s the team I really want to beat really bad.”
“And we [likely] get to play at Kyle Field this year. I always wanted to play there. We always played them in Cowboys Stadium. So it would be pretty cool to beat him at home.”
Growing up, Woods never really had any love for Texas A&M. The same, unfortunately, can’t be said about the University of Texas. “Arkansas Fans, y’all gonna hate me for this, but Texas was my dream school because that’s where I’m from. I’m not from Austin, but Texas was my dream school coming up and I was just getting in fights with people because everybody was for Texas A&M. So we had a big clash, but now you all see who I’m rocking with.”
“…I was a super fan. My room growing up was painted burnt orange. I had a Longhorns trash can in it. I had a Longhorns mini helmet. Man, I had Longhorn footballs, Longhorn stickers on the wall. I had Vince Young on the wall, man I was a Longhorn’ed out back then.”
Arkansas-Texas Ain’t What It Used To Be
No doubt, Arkansas’ hatred towards Texas doesn’t burn as white hot as it did in the SWC days, when Arkansas annually played at the Longhorns (and all other big Texas schools).
A couple generations of Hog fans only know SEC-era Arkansas — they have no memories of those annual showdowns. On top of that, a much larger percentage of Arkansas students are Texans now than 30 years ago. Woods himself is an example. The main reason he came Arkansas was a) he wanted to play in the SEC and b) he originally committed to Chad Morris at SMU, but followed Morris to Arkansas.
There is a groundswell of Arkansas fans who want to return to playing Texas annually, however, After the SEC recently announced Arkansas’ two extra SEC games in 2020 will be against powerhouses Florida and Georgia, an increasing number of fans are sick of the SEC treating Arkansas like a doormat and want to see Arkansas leave for the Big 12 (home to closer one-time rivals and potential rivals like Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech and Baylor).
When it comes to taking on Top 10 teams, though, Woods doesn’t flinch.
When someone asked him which team he feared the most — besides Alabama — he responded: “When I’d seen that question at first, the look on my face was very disgusted, because I don’t fear nobody, bro. I fear no team. Ain’t no sugar in my blood. I don’t fear nobody, so I can’t even answer that. And I don’t fear Alabama.”
Much head shaking commenced.
Make sure to check out the rest of the wide-ranging interview below, in which he talks about his favorite NFL team (“Whoever drafts me after this year.”) what he enjoys doing the most in NWA (at 5:30), the Hog players he thinks will have a breakout season (at 13:40) and much more.
Mike Woods’ favorite NFL receivers
Mike Woods’ favorite pre-game music
“I got a pregame playlist. It’s rap, hip hop, but it got Moneybagg Yo, Kodak Black…. Young Nudy, that’s my favorite rapper, you know he on there. Future, D Moolah… Key Glock on there. Everybody on there, bro, I just put it on shuffle and rock out.”
It appears that the Big 10 will cancel its fall football season. For the latest from Arkansas players and Hunter Yurachek, go here: